Challenge accepted

Q&A: Youth for Livable Cebu pursues the Great Urban Challenge

By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor

 

SINCE it was founded in 2012, Youth for Livable Cebu (YLC) has been playing its part in envisioning, and hopefully, realizing a home that is a better and more sustainable place to live in. Over the years, the group has harnessed meaningful and fun interactions among the youth, and going a step further, has spearheaded activities geared towards their goals.

YLC implemented its flagship project for its Vertical Farming initiatives at Handuraw in Gororodo Ave. The entire wall at the al fresco was draped in different kinds of plants (inset), including herbs used as ingredients in the cafe’s dishes. They are now working with some urban barangays to install similar vertical farming projects in unused spaces. (SUN.STAR FOTO/RUEL ROSELLO)
YLC implemented its flagship project for its Vertical Farming initiatives at Handuraw in Gororodo Ave. The entire wall at the al fresco was draped in different kinds of plants (inset), including herbs used as ingredients in the cafe’s dishes. They are now working with some urban barangays to install similar vertical farming projects in unused spaces. (SUN.STAR FOTO/RUEL ROSELLO)

Some of its activities to date have been its sustainable environment initiatives such as the “trashion” social enterprise in which it has trained communities how to make accessories using scrap materials, and The Great Urban Challenge, in which it has been collaborating with some barangays to revitalize unused spaces for urban gardening. The group has also been working with their mother org, Movement of Livable Cebu, for the project, Save our Rivers: Syagit sa Sapa.

But the list doesn’t end there, and there’s a lot more activities that can be expected from this growing community of visionaries. Know more about YLC below and find out how you can also do your part to help.

Youth For Livable Cebu’s core team members Francis Sollano, Fiona Lim and Eric Smith. (SUN.STAR FOTO/RUEL ROSELLO)
Youth For Livable Cebu’s core team members Francis Sollano, Fiona Lim and Eric Smith. (SUN.STAR FOTO/RUEL ROSELLO)

What was the inspiration behind The Great Urban Challenge?

YLC: Inspired by vertical urban gardening, The Great Urban Challenge (TGUC) promotes aesthetic or edible, creative greening developments. We felt that the rapid urbanization in Cebu has caused the decay in some spaces. There are areas in our city that are left untouched, and are slowly becoming havens for crimes and unhealthy practices. With TGUC, we hope that putting in art and green gardens would breathe new life to these spaces.

How about your other projects? What are some of your most memorable projects to date?

We’ve had several programs that are rooted on our five pillars of livability: plant, live, play, work and lead. In the Plant pillar, we have The Great Urban Challenge. With the Work pillar, we are establishing social enterprises that benefit marginalized communities like the women’s groups in Barrio Luz. Under Lead, we organize workshops and symposiums where the youth can discuss great ideas and hopefully implement it in their own avenues.

TRASHION IN BANTAYAN. To help make socially responsible economies, YLC volunteers teach Bantayan folk how to design and create products such as fashion accessories and home accents out of shells, plastics and straws. (CONTRIBUTED FOTO)
TRASHION IN BANTAYAN. To help make socially responsible economies, YLC volunteers teach Bantayan folk how to design and create products such as fashion accessories and home accents out of shells, plastics and straws. (CONTRIBUTED FOTO)

When was YLC founded?

We started in June 2012 when we launched our Facebook page during Movement for a Livable Cebu’s (MLC) Sustainable Cities Dialogues. During that time, we felt that it would be great if there was a younger voice that represents the advocacy of MLC.

What kind of livable Cebu does the group envision?

Our vision is of a livable Cebu inspired by rich heritage and culture, thriving in socially responsible economies, revitalized urban centers, governed by responsible leaders, and transformed by an engaged citizenry. We have made it our mission to engage the Cebuano youth in a creative, and collaborative effort towards building more livable communities.

TRASHION IN TINAGO. In YLC’s visit to Barangay Tinago, youth volunteers teach local folk how to make fashion accessories from scrap fabrics. (CONTRIBUTED FOTO)
TRASHION IN TINAGO. In YLC’s visit to Barangay Tinago, youth volunteers teach local folk how to make fashion accessories from scrap fabrics. (CONTRIBUTED FOTO)

How can interested individuals join YLC?

We would love to have them join our meetings every first Saturday of the month, which is normally held at Handuraw Events Café. Most of our partners can message us on Facebook or email us at hello@ylc.ph.

What keeps them going

“It is about a commitment towards realizing a more livable Cebu for myself and for fellow Cebuanos. Moreover, it is about being able to activate a disposition of being a proactive citizen and realizing shared visions.” – Eric Smith, founder

“There probably has been an ongoing shift in most of us — not from simply the recognition of what needs to be done, but to the will and determination to do something, regardless of the risk and egoistic sacrifice. I just fully embraced my edible gardening early this year — who would have thought of that?! I want to check how willing I am to go beyond my comfort zone, accept and endure the inconveniences in light of what is at stake with my current choices, habits, and preferences by living in Metro Cebu. Ultimately, this is my (and YLC’s) attempt to collaborate with destiny rather than simply submit to our fate on how our city is supposed to be today and in the next generations to come.” — Fiona Lim

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